Monthly Archives: March 2013
So you know how sometimes your picking starts to get pretty good and you’re like “Hey I’m actually getting better!” and then all of a sudden you relapse and your self talk goes a little like this:
“Why the fuck would you do that for? Now look what you’ve done! You were going so well! Your face/arms/legs were looking so much better… now look what you’ve done to them! You’ve totally fucked them up! Oh my God you’re so fucking ugly! You look hideous! Now how are you meant to go out tomorrow? Makeup is hardly going to cover THAT up! You’re such a failure!!!! What is wrong with you?”
That’s been me the past two nights. In fact everytime I relapse that is the kind of self-talk that goes on in my head. And actually even when my spots are clearing up I still tell myself how ugly I am. Why do us pickers do this to ourselves? It’s hard enough dealing with the physical afflictions of this illness, do we really have to torment ourselves mentally as well?
One thing that seems quite common amongst skin pickers is our desire for perfection. Most of us seem to be perfectionists at heart striving to make ourselves “look better”; to “fix” ourselves. We are the same when it comes to other things in life as well, such as getting high marks in school, doing well at our jobs, etc. The other day I got a D- for one of my university assignments and suicide was the first thing that entered my mind. I immediately assumed I’d failed, not realising that a D actually stands for a Distinction in University. But even a D is not good enough and neither are all the C’s (Credit’s) I’ve been getting. I want HD’s (High Distinctions). I want to be the best! But why? Why do I need to be the best? Why am I always so hard on myself? I’m passing, shouldn’t that be enough? You only need P’s (Passes) for Degrees after all!
It just feels like I’m constantly failing in life. The narrative that continually repeats itself in my head goes something along the lines of: “You’re such a bad mum! You spend so much time studying you hardly play with your son. You’re a terrible mother. He’d be so much better off without you. And you’re spending all this time studying and you’re still sucking at University! You’re only just passing and you’re putting in so much effort, you must be really stupid! And look at how ugly you are! No wonder you’re such a failure! You spend so much time picking, how do you expect to have time for anything else? You’re wrecking your skin. Look at it. It’s covered in spots and scars! You’ll never be beautiful!”
With a narrative like that no wonder suicide constantly crosses my mind! So maybe it’s about time I adopted a more positive narrative – one of self-love. Maybe it’s about time I started noticing the achievements I make, the things I do well and focusing less on the things I don’t do so well at.
“Ok yes you’ve relapsed! But who cares, tomorrow is a new day. Don’t take it out on yourself and more importantly don’t take it out on your skin!!! You’re doing such a wonderful job, you’re so incredibly strong! This is just a tiny slip up on a very long road to recovery. The spots will be almost healed again in a couple of days. You are beautiful! You are worthy! You are strong! Keep it up!”
Simply tell the negative thoughts to GO AWAY! You don’t need them in your life any longer. All they do is bring you down!
“Ok so you didn’t get a HD. But you still passed and you passed well! That’s one step closer to getting your degree. And who cares if this one particular tutor didn’t like your style of writing? Some of the best writers amongst us today got rejected SO many times before they became the best sellers that they are today! And you’ve got a lot on your plate! You work, you study full time, you have a son, you help out at his school. You’ve got a lot to juggle and the balls haven’t dropped. You’re doing such a good job! Keep it up!”
“And you are a good mum! In fact you’re a fantastic mum! Your son gets fed, bathed, clothed, and told he’s loved each and every single day. Everything you do is for him! The reason you’re working so hard right now is so you can provide him with the best future possible! You want to succeed so he can succeed! And you’re still here. You’re still here for him. It would have been so easy to give up but your love for him keeps you going. If this doesn’t prove you’re a good mum then what does?”
How much more uplifting is it to hear positive words of encouragement instead of a constant barrage of hateful and negative comments? Don’t be so hard on yourself! People AREN’T perfect. People CAN’T be perfect. So stop striving for perfectionism… strive instead for being the best person you can be, flaws and all! Something my mum pointed out to me and it is so very true, is the beauty of nature. Nature is incredibly beautiful, breathtaking even and yet what is perfect about nature? Nature is not symetrical, leaves have bumps and holes in them, rocks are sharp and jagged, trees weep sap and peel bark, creek beds dry up, rivers overflow. Not perfect at all but so beautiful… so perfect in its own way with all its flaws. This is what makes nature unique. And this is what makes human beings unique. We are all different. And we all have a lot to offer. There is no one such thing that defines a perfect human being. Learn to love yourself and others will too. See the positives in life and the negatives won’t be able to take such a hold on you. Live your life and lead your life alongside a positive commentary. Lord knows YOU DESERVE IT!!!!!<
I’ve known no wars… only the ones I’ve had with myself.
I’ve known no poverty… only I struggle to put a roof over my head.
I’ve known no starvation… only I fear the food on my plate.
I’ve known no loss… only the one of my mind.
I’ve known no torture… only I’m covered in scars.
I’ve known no illness… except for the one that exists in my head.
– Samantha Wright (2013)
So for the first time the other day I had a picking session in public. Over the years, there has been the odd occasion where I’ve picked at a spot or two on my face while out shopping or at work or out with friends and family but this was something different. It started in one of my tutorials at University. As I was sitting there listening to everything my tutor was saying, my left hand started feeling for and picking at the scabs that were on my right hand. I just started tearing into my skin right there in class! And then I started picking at my back. I was hoping no one noticed and I still hope no one noticed but I just didn’t seem to be able to stop. As soon as that class ended I went straight to the toilet and before I knew it I had entered into a trance like state. Over thirty minutes later I had picked all the scabs on my right hand, on both of my arms, some on my upper thighs and a couple on my bum. I was bleeding and pussing everywhere! And it’s not like I could have just hopped into a shower so I had to clean up as best as I could with all that was on hand – toilet paper – and then roll down the sleeves of my cardigan over my weeping, painful, open wounds. I was so ashamed! So devastated at my appaling behaviour! Is this what it has come down to – being unable to control my picking in public? And this isn’t the first time it has impacted my studies. Last week I changed one of my units from internal mode to external mode because I had spent the day at home picking and was too embarassed to attend my tutorial that night. So instead of facing up to what I had done, I took the easy way out. Memories of my high school years are now flooding back to me where I would refuse to get out of bed because I just couldn’t stand the thought of seeing myself in the mirror and spending over three hours trying to cover up my sores and scars with makeup.
I’ve just added a third degree to my studies. With that, as well as being a full time single mum, still coming to terms with my break up and moving back home with my mum, having work three nights a week as well as volunteering when I can – I think I may be a little overwhelmed. I thought I was coping but I think my picking is telling me otherwise. Maybe my new mantra of “Don’t think, just do!” isn’t as helpful as what I thought it would be. Hopefully I can get this under control or ease up on my workload a little bit. All I know is right now things are hard and it’s taking every inch of my strength to keep it all together.